Editor’s note: This article was written in January 2017, for publication in our first print edition, (before Trump’s inauguration). Since then a lot has happened in the world, and Trump has acted in a way that neither the writers nor editors then imagined possible. We ask that you bear this in mind when reading this article.
UNITY BEHIND TRUMP
There’s no denying Trump is controversial. In the first month of his presidency he reinstated the gag rule, threatened to tax Mexican exports by 20%, and replaced top military leaders with his own personal strategist, Steve Bannon. The fact remains that he is the President, and it is crucial to unify behind him.
I’m all for standing up to express our democratic rights… but not this time. Protests and other forms of activism can be a great way of inducing change within political institutions. President Trump, however, is very likely to respond negatively to activism, doubling down on his policies. We all know he’s (in)famous for his adamancy.
Why should we, as Australians, support him? By supporting his actions, we have a chance of maintaining a strong America, a historically powerful ally to Australia. As Australians, it’s imperative that we consider our national security. The United States has been a powerful ally to Australia for 76 years now. Since 2007 we have had the largest access to American technology, which we could not afford by ourselves. Supporting the US and Donald Trump would ensure that we maintain economic and military security, which, with the growing global uncertainty, we will require for the near future.
There are alternative powers, China and Russia being prime examples, but should we really be supporting undemocratic nations over the US? China is renowned for its oppressive government and poor living conditions. Russia just decriminalised domestic violence. The U.S. has a solid democracy held firmly together by long-standing checks and balances. Trump may seem bad, but do we really want to back undemocratic nations with little respect for human rights? Our alliance with the US in invaluable and makes a clear statement about our intentions as a nation.
The lack of support for the president has already seen protests in Oregon turn violent, with fires set and properties vandalised. An editor at Vox incited mayhem in response to Trump’s election, stating “if Trump comes to your town, start a riot”. With the numbers showing up to these protests, if we take this disunity to heart, there’s no telling how many thousands could be hurt. To protect the safety and security of Americans we must support our leaders.
On the other side of the spectrum, leaders with overwhelming support from the get-go often continue to do great things for their country. Franklin D. Roosevelt helped America out of the great depression. A little closer to home, Prime Minister Bob Hawke connected with trade unions to build stronger economic stability for the working class. It’s clear that Donald Trump has resonated with the working class, perhaps he can do the same, but he’ll need our support and patience. If we dismiss Trump, we’re dismissing the voice of millions of disenfranchised Americans, potentially casting a shadow on US history. We might not always like change, but supporting our leaders clearly has its benefits.
You don’t have to like Trump, but for the sake of U.S. citizen welfare and Australia’s national security, we must unify behind the President of the United States.
Words by Emily Pankhurst
UNITY AGAINST TRUMP
Millions of Americans woke up on the 9th of November feeling a sense of hopelessness and despair. Donald Trump’s victory was so difficult for so many of us – myself included.
To gauge the fallout of Trump’s election, the Human Rights Campaign surveyed 50,000 American youths – the personal stories and results were gut wrenching. In one instance, a girl had her tyres slashed because she had an Equality sticker on her car. In another, a Latinx was told that the new President “is gonna deport wastes of space like you”. These stories offer a small snapshot of the hate and bigotry being experienced. But despite this, 57% of respondents said that the election result made them more motivated towards helping others, and that decent Americans should be inspired to step up and fight back to defend the ideals and values they hold dear.
This fightback can take many shapes and sizes. We have seen Democrats wearing pro-Obamacare badges at Trump’s Inauguration, millions marching in the Women’s Marches worldwide and public figures declaring that they too will register with any Muslim registry established.
America’s history is littered with uplifting stories of resistance. From Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat, to the hundreds of thousands who marched on Washington in 1963 demanding equal rights for African-Americans. America has seen what resisting policies of hate and bigotry can achieve. Today, with the rhetoric and policies from the Trump administration resembling that dark period, it demands decent Americans to fightback and resist. To give hope to those frightened by deportation, security to those insecure because of difference and courage to those who fear speaking out or standing up against hate and racism.
As a Michigan youth wrote in that Human Rights Campaign survey:
“My generation… is working harder than ever to make sure the American dream is accessible to everyone and that everyone is included in our society. They are taking a stand against hate. They are demanding a just world, and are fighting for it.”
There will be days where hate and bigotry will win. But as Hillary Clinton reminded us, fighting for what’s right is worth it. And it will be people like that Michigan youth who will be among the most vocal and ferocious in declaring that hate and bigotry has no place in America.
Words by Ian Tan
This article first appeared in print volume 88 edition 1 HEAT.
The editors apologise to Ian Tan and Emily Pankhurst for missattributing their work in the print edition.